November 16, 2015

Hey Soul Sister (aka Sister Neeley)

Hello there! Happy Monday to you all!

Well this week's email won't be as exciting as last week's, I'll be honest, but Sister Neeley and I had a great week. I'm not really quite sure where to start...just kidding yes I do. I'll start off with saying I absolutely love my companion. We have so much fun together. We could be companions the rest of my mission and I would be just fine. 

Monday night to Tuesday we had an exchange with some of our sisters. Sister Neeley stayed in the area while I left. They taught Cody (the guy we met last week) while I was gone for the day and she said that it was a great lesson. He told us that he really wanted to come to church and read the Book of Mormon. He told us that he'd have his step-mom call us sometime this week to give her approval about coming to church but we never heard from her. We know that he walks around the park everyday so we're going to try him again tomorrow to see how things are going. 

Wednesday we had an unplanned mission leadership council that we went to. It's always great being with President & Sister Palmer and the other leaders in the mission. Sister Neeley and I wanted to stop by some of our sisters that live closer to the mission office while we were there but realized we wouldn't have enough time to make it back in time for our dinner with a less-active family that invited us over. The family was so nice and welcoming, a little stiff at first but the end everyone was having a good time and enjoyed feeling the spirit in their home for the first time in a while. After dinner we were supposed to have a meeting again with David and DeAnne but she called saying that she'd been held up at the office and that we would have to reschedule. The sisters that lived back by the mission office were on my mind during dinner and we were trying to figure out where we needed to be for the rest of the evening. Something that President has grilled in my mind since the mission split is that we should act on every worthy impression. Especially as leaders, he tells us we shouldn't doubt any impressions we receive. Sister Neeley is doing a great job balancing and understanding the new responsibilities that we share. When she told me that she had also been thinking about those sisters, I knew that we had to go. I could tell that she was hesitant to go all the way out there instead of staying in our own area but as soon as we got there and started talking with the sisters, we immediately knew why we were there. One of the sisters had been struggling with a few personal things, she didn't go into too much detail but was having a hard time knowing what to do and needed help but didn't know where to find it or how to ask. On the way home, Sister Neeley was so excited and felt so peaceful about following that impression. Even if it hadn't meant a lot to those sisters (even though it really did) it meant a lot to both of us as well and for Sister Neeley to gain confidence in those small, simple promptings that the Lord gives us when He needs us to be somewhere ministering those we steward. I know that that sounds kind of intense, but with the meeting we had attended earlier that day it became clear just how much the Lord expects of those who he has called as leaders and the ways we need to help and serve those we've been called to. Not only the people in our area but the other missionaries as well. 

On Thursday we spent most of the day up in Lodi with the other missionaries. We're going back this week to train during district meeting. We noticed several issues of concern with the sisters we had gone on exchanges and brought those to their other leaders attention and asked if they would be okay with us going back on Friday to weekly plan with them and address some of the other issues we'd noticed. Thursday night we had a great lesson with Anthony. He lives with his aunt and uncle who are members. In the past the uncle had made it seem like we shouldn't ask Anthony if he wanted to take the lessons and not to push him too much. Anthony admitted that a lot of people from other churches had tried pushing him into their church before which really turned him off but said he'd always been drawn to the LDS church and asked us if we would teach him the lesson. We taught him the restoration; probably the most in-depth, detailed lesson of the Restoration I've taught...he had so many questions and really wants to know. He's not ready to set a firm date yet, wants to take all of the lessons first before deciding he wants to get baptized but we're hoping as he continues to read and pray he'll act in faith and choose a date. Someone to definitely keep in your prayers!

Friday we were finishing up our studies when Sister Palmer texted us asking if she and President could come visit us and asked for our address. No big deal, just my mission president in our teeny tiny one bedroom apartment! Good thing it was tidy! Even though it was a surprise to have them there it was great being with them, I love any and all opportunities we get to be with them. They sat in on a part of our weekly planning for this week; lesson's we'll teach, goals we set etc. It ended up turning into a discussion about some of the needs and concerns with our sisters. Thursday night several sets of sisters and district leaders called us about several different things. We're staying afloat but I find myself having a hard time balancing when to step in to help and when to step back so that these sisters (most of them have only been out 6-12 weeks) can learn to be self reliant and problem solve on their own. We told Sister Palmer we were going back to visit with those sisters to plan with them and she asked if she could come with us. I wished we had taken pictures with her while we were driving there. She's so much fun and we had a great time talking in the car. We made an agreement that what was said in the car-stayed in the car. She had some great insights about our callings and life in general. The time with those sisters was very productive. We were able to address the concerns we had and with Sister Palmer there it was even better. They've both only been out one transfer and this transfer are finishing their training with each other and are facing some challenges without having someone to look to as an example. Preach My Gospel and the Missionary Handbook have all of the answers but it's a different experience to have a great trainer who's leading and guiding you along the way. We were glad that went well and that we could help them. Serving all of these sisters has its challenges but I'm so grateful for the leadership experiences I'm having. I'm learning loooots of patience and humility, so it's probably a good thing I have this calling. 

Saturday we went and did studies with a different set of sisters; 4 of them are living together and have a stressful apartment set up. Let me tell you this: It's a two bedroom, two bath apartment with a really nice open living room as well but one room has been making them "sick" so that they've quarantined the room so all 4 of them crammed their beds in the living area and the other room while the other one remains empty. I don't understand it...Anyway, after studies we went back to our area where we had a ward activity in the park. Cody was supposed to be there but he didn't show up (again, we'll have to try and talk with him this week). Our investigator Monique was there and we had a lesson with her later that day that went well. After dinner we went and stopped by David and DeAnne's. We have a lesson with them this week and he told us that he's been reading the Book of Mormon and has questions! We're looking forward to our meeting with them; both of them are the nicest. You can tell that they both sincerely want to know these things for themselves. After, we went and stopped by to see one of our investigators, Michael. His wife is a member but he isn't. His wife is the choir director so we go over on Saturday nights to practice quickly for the song we'll sing at church because they have choir during our studies on Sunday. I have to tell you the coolest experience though; when Michael came in and we were sitting there talking I had this thought and feeling "I know you." Nothing weird or creepy but it was like a lightbulb. I already know you. I didn't tell this to him of course, but it was kind of crazy to think and know that we've already met before. We went through the baptismal questions and he knows that everything EVERYTHING is true except knowing that Jesus Christ is the Son of most cases it's usually the other way around, right? Problems with the Book of Mormon and Joseph Smith or the word of wisdom. Nope, he's good with all of that. It's Jesus Christ he doesn't know about. So we're working with him on that one to gain a testimony for himself. 

Time to get going but we're excited for this week and the lessons and fun we have planned! Crazy how quickly this month is going by! Other missionaries are starting to ask me when I'm going home or how much I have left, it's so bizarre to met to tell them I've been out over a year...can't believe how quickly that time is coming, but I still have a few more months to enjoy so I'm taking advantage of them while I still can. I hope that everyone has a great week. 

Sister Allen 

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